Award of Lancashire Children’s Services Contract to Virgin Care Set Aside
Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust v Lancashire County Council  EWHC 1589 (TCC)
The High Court (Mr Justice Stuart Smith) has today handed down a judgment setting aside the award of a contract for public health nursing services by Lancashire County Council to Virgin Care Services Limited. The Court has upheld a challenge made by the Claimants, two local NHS Trusts, to the Council’s decision on the basis that the Council failed to give adequate or sufficient reasons for the scores it awarded to the two bidders in the evaluation. The Court held that:
“I am satisfied that the notes do not provide a full, transparent, or fair summary of the discussions that led to the consensus scores sufficient to enable the Trusts to defend their rights or the Court to discharge its supervisory jurisdiction.”
The Court held that the inadequacy of the reasons given by the Council was such that the Court was not able to determine whether the scores awarded by the Council contained manifest and material errors. The Court did not accept certain other criticisms which the Trusts made of the conduct of the procurement.
The trial took place over 5 days concluding on 1 May 2018. The Judgment follows an earlier ruling of the High Court in February 2018 suspending the conclusion of the contract with Virgin pending trial – see link here.
Rob Williams acted for the successful Claimants throughout the proceedings, instructed by Hempsons.
A copy of the Judgment can be found here.